Botswana’s President Masisi wins hotly contested election

Mokgweetsi Masisi, the president of Botswana and the leader of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) casting his ballot at the Mosielele Primary School polling station in his home village, Moshupa, on October 23, 2019. – (Photo by Monirul Bhuiyan / AFP)


GABORONE, Botswana (AFP) — Incumbent president Mokgweetsi Masisi on Friday won a five-year term in Botswana’s elections which saw his ruling party secure more than 51 percent of parliamentary votes, the chief justice said.

“Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi is elected President of the Republic of Botswana,” chief justice Terrence Rannowane announced.

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has ruled since independence from Britain in 1966, was declared the winner after attaining the minimum 29 parliamentary seats required to form a government after Wednesday’s vote.

Counting for the remaining seats was still underway, the chief justice said adding that “sufficient” results had been declared to announce that Masisi the winner.

The 58-year-old became president in April 2018 as the hand-picked successor to Ian Khama, who resigned.

The BDP suffered a seismic jolt in May when Khama accused Masisi, his former deputy, of autocracy.

Khama threw his weight behind the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), once his fiercest critic.

Then in May, he formed his own party, the Botswana Patriotic Front, which fielded candidates in only 19 of the 57 constituencies.

After casting his ballot in his natal village of Moshupa, 65 kilometres (40 miles) west of Gaborone on Wednesday, Masisi admitted it had been “the toughest election we have had to fight”.

Polling generally proceeded smoothly across the vast, but sparsely populated country of 2.2 million people, according to the electoral commission, despite delays in clearing voters at some polling stations.

Botswana is seen across Africa as a beacon of continuity and democracy.

© Agence France-Presse